I’m not entirely sure how Animal Planet managed to convince Shannen Doherty and Christopher Lloyd to be in their shitty made for TV movie about killer lampreys but, hey, here we are. I had no idea going in that this was a made-for-TV movie and, having found that out, it makes a lot more sense that I was constantly reminded of those shitty Syfy Network movies. I’m still not sure when exactly Animal Planet started trying to muscle in on the Syfy Network’s shtick of horrible, low budget monster movies but that’s an issue for another time.
So our hero this time around is actually with the Fish and Wildlife Services and is an expert on lampreys, so he at least makes sense for being the main character. Doherty plays his wife that is trying to adjust to a move to the quiet Michigan lake town with the rest of the family. You also have his kids, the sexy teen daughter that has a boyfriend after being in town for one day and the nerdy younger brother that has no friends but the random animals he comes across. We also get the other wildlife rangers, a neighbor that wants to bang the pool boy (which happens to be the daughter’s boyfriend), the mayor (Christopher Lloyd collecting a paycheck) and a whole host of other people that also don’t matter.
We don’t even get the excuse of like toxic waste mutations or space rays or whatever turning the creatures in this into deadly killers. They just are. Like, they explain them as being particularly strong and violent for their species. Animal Planet is just straight up like “Yeah, sometimes lampreys go crazy and kill people. We are a legit channel you can watch about animals.” Also the lampreys are able to just sort of flop around outside of water no problem for at least several minutes and probably closer to an hour for what some scenes show. Also, sometimes they can leap 10 feet or so to latch on to people and other times they can’t even be arsed to jump forward 5 inches. I want consistency in the abilities of my shitty killer animals.
The plot starts out being sort of Jaws-esque with the lamprey population being too high and the mayor not wanting to shut the lake down because tourists and the expert warning him about the dangers and blah blah blah. Then it takes a hard turn into CGI lampreys killing all the people everywhere. Something like four lampreys get into the sewer and they randomly spawn a billion more lampreys that all get to adult size in about six hours. There are a crap ton of side characters and they mostly die except for the family and the boyfriend. The one thing that really bugged me and it annoyed me in Slugs too is the plan for these movies always seems to be “Get them all in one place and then blow them up/electrocute them”. Which would be all well and good but the animals are shown to be spread all over town and the span of time between luring them and killing them is around five to ten minutes. Even if the ones several miles away were trying because they could just sense they needed to get to your kill zone they would still not be there in time. How dare a shitty TV movie not think this shit through.
Anyway, the movie is amusing enough and has enough blood and random attacks to at least keep your attention fairly well. I’d give it a 2.5 out of 5 with the conditional that it’s still got the quality of a made-for-TV movie so if that is going to bother you then probably don’t bother.
Favorite thing in the movie: I got to see a CGI lamprey go up Christopher Lloyd’s ass.
Least favorite thing: I had to see a CGI lamprey go up Christopher Lloyd’s ass.